If cost goes beyond Rs.5 lakh, power projects will have to be shelved, says Minister
“Overall interests of society have to be kept in mind while taking up such projects”
CHENNAI: Power generation projects will become unviable if the cost of land acquisition goes beyond Rs.5 lakh an acre, according to Electricity Minister Arcot N. Veeraswami.
Participating in the debate on the Budget in the Assembly on Wednesday, Mr Veeraswami said a consensus had been arrived at among the Neyveli Lignite Corporation, the Cuddalore district administration and the respective land owners that a compensation of Rs.5 lakh an acre would be paid.
In Jayamkondan [where the integrated project of lignite mining and power production has been planned], plots that would not cost more than Rs. 20,000 and Rs. 30,000 had been purchased for Rs.1,80,000.
Similarly, in Neyveli [where the Neyveli Lignite Corporation is implementing power generation projects], lands whose value would not be over Rs.50,000 were being bought at Rs.5 lakh.
If the cost of land acquisition went above this level, power projects would have to be shelved.
He explained that the increase in the capital cost of the project would lead to a hike in the unit cost which, in turn, might create a situation wherein free power supply to farmers, huts and handloom units would not be possible. Overall interests of society had to be kept in mind while taking up such projects.
He was responding to observations of K. Mahendran (Communist Party of India-Marxist), Ramajayam (All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) and G.K. Mani and T. Velmurgan (Pattali Makkal Katchi) on the issue.
Ms. Ramajayam and Mr. Velmurugan said the compensation was inadequate and should be increased. To Mr. Mani’s suggestion for an alternative scheme for the Neyveli land acquisition process, Mr. Veeraswami said it might not be possible.
However, documents on the negotiations could be accessed. Discussions with Health Minister M.R. K. Paneerselvam (who hails from the Cuddalore district) could be held and a settlement may be arrived at.
Mr. Mahendran wanted the State government to urge the Centre to impose a ban on online trading in view of the rising prices of essential commodities.
The move to bring labour welfare boards under the control of the Revenue Department had caused disappointment among workers.
He said Tamils who migrated from Myanmar in 1966 and settled down in the Perambur constituency had not yet been given land deeds.
S. Rajasekaran (CPI) wanted the cost of each dwelling unit built under the Indira Awaaz Yojana to be increased to Rs.1 lakh from the present Rs.55,000 in view of the rise in input cost.
A. Arunmozhithevan (AIADMK) complained that applicants of fresh ration cards were running from pillar to post to get their cards. He cited the example of the former Vice Chief of Staff Lt. Gen (retd.) S. Pattabhiraman who, he said, waited for 14 months to get his card.
E.V. Velu, Food and Civil Supplies Minister, said the system of issuing the cards had been streamlined.
Except in Chennai, where the task was being performed by the office of the Commissioner of Civil Supplies, cards in all other districts were printed and distributed by the district administration, Mr. Velu added.